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the flow of arms and fighters to the assad regime in syria. kerry pressed leaders in baghdad to crack down on flights from iran to syria which passes over iraqis airspace. >> we had a very spirited discussion on the subject of the overflights. anything that supports president assad is problematic and i made it very clear to the prime minister that the overflights from iran are, in fact, helping to sustain president assad and his regime. >> those opposed to bashar al assad's government are struggling to maintain a united coalition after the head of the u.s.-backed opposition resigned. "the new york times" reports arab nations and turkey have sharply stepped up aid to the rebels with the help of the cia. for more on that, nbc's eamon mohyeldin joins us. >> as you just mentioned there, the greatest concern for u.s. officials right now are the flights coming in from iran over iraq and into syria. now, according to u.s. intelligence estimates as well as syrian opposition figures they believe these flights are carrying important weapons and more importantly cash for the regime of president basha
with benjamin netanyahu. following a would closed-door meeting between those two leaders. as the assad regime and syrian rebels accuse each other of launching deadly chemical and launching a deadly chemical attack just hours before the president's arrival. the white house at this point says it cannot con official those claims. this trip to israel is the first for the president. this is a four-day middle east trip. he was greeted by netanyahu and israeli president perez. before leaving the a airport, president obama was shown the israeli air force system which the u.s. helped pay for. he met with president perez and took part in a ceremonial tree planting. >> there is a common vision uniting us. to confirm dangers. to bring closure as soon as possible. >> i reaffirm president perez, as i will throughout my visit, that in this work, the state of israel will have no greater friend than the united states. right now as president meets with prime minister netanyahu, major issues, like syria, iran's nuclear program, stalled peace talks. ish a us taking center stage and joining me live now from jerus
leader to publicly call on assad to step down because of the horrific violence that was being inflicted on the syrian people. jordan has played a leading role in trying to begin a political transition toward a new government. while working together to strengthen a credible, syrian opposition. we share jordan's concerns about violence spilling across the border. so i want to take this opportunity to make it clear the united states is committed to the security of jordan. which is backed by our strong alliance. as has been mentioned during this crisis, the jordanian people have displayed extraordinary generosity, but the strains of so many refugees inevitably is showing. every day -- [ inaudible ] >> to neighbors far from home, but this is a heavy burden. and international community needs to step up to make sure that they are helping to shoulder this burden. the united states will certainly do our part. we are already the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance to the syrian people. some of this has helped people here in jordan. and today i'm announcing that my administration will
in syria that brought a signal warning from the president to president assad's discredited regime. >> we have been clear that the use of chemical weapons against the syrian people would be a serious and tragic mistake. the assad regime must understand that they will be held accountable for the use of chemical weapons or their transfer to terrorists. >> and the president said his administration is fully investigating those claims of chemical weapons used in syria. nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engle join us. the first question out of the gate was a robust one, asking the president about the slaughter of innocence in syria and the alleged use of chemical weapons there. the president said pointedly that use of chemical weapons would be a game changer and that assad and his regime would be held accountable. but this is an incredibly tough case for the president, isn't it? >> reporter: i don't think the president wants to get involved in syria. i think the bar is very high. i think the president worries that if he starts getting involved in syria and becomes known as protector
's thinking on what to do about syria, how the united states can help move to the post-assad period. >> let me ask you quickly about this speech, because it's coming up in about 40 minutes. obviously, the relationship, if you look at the polls between the president and the israeli people, has been strained as well. here's what a university professor wrote in "the daily beast" this morning. mr. obama will be talking to young people who are neither listless cynics nor disaffected sofa-plit koes. many of them have marched in demonstrations and took active part in protest rallies. our record of effective activism is by comparison to every other recent social movement, stellar. is this an important speech for him there? if so, what should his message be? >> well, it is an important speech. he has about a 10% approval rating in israel. that will undoubtedly tick up. but this is part of the president's style. you remember in 2009 he spoke at cairo university. he's made a choice here. he's not going to speak government to government. he's going to move beyond that dialogue to talk directly to the isra
are already the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance to the syrian people. i'm confident that assad will go. it is not a question of if. it is when. and so part of what we have to spend a lot of time thinking about is what is the aftermath? for the american people we have to recognize we have a stake here. >> a half million syrian refugees have fled to jordan. a nation already dependent on foreign aid including $13 billion from the u.s. king abdullah says assad's days are numbers but fears islam rule could emerge in its place. chuck todd is traveling with the president and asking the president as many questions as he wants. that's how chuck todd gets down. chuck, i have one question for you. what is going on in your world right now? >> well, it has been a pretty busy day. you brought up the issue of syria and this is classic all politics is local issue when it comes to jordan. this issue of syrian refugees and the economic toll it is taking on the country is clearly the number one item on the king's agenda. he equated it. he made an interesting little parallel. he said they may get
administration to use patriot missiles to degrade the assad regime's air power and the chair and ranking members of the house intelligence committee have introduced a bill calling for the administration to arm syrian rebels. asked today about whether the united states would provide a more aggressive military response to the syrian crisis, the president would only say this. >> the united states often finds itself in a situation where if it goes in militarily then it's criticized for going in militarily. and if it doesn't go in militarily then people say why aren't you doing something militarily, and, you know, my response at this stage is to make sure that what we do contributes to bringing an end to the bloodshed as quickly as possible. >> joining me now is nbc's peteral exandriny. >> the president wraps up his four-day visit to the middle east tomorrow. with renewed pressure to handle the crisis in syria, a nation he's not visiting, what is the effect of this trip been on that issue, do you think? >> reporter: well, i think we've got a pretty good sense of it as i was there in the news conferen
. president obama says he's skeptical assad used chemical weapons. >> we have been clear that the use of chemical weapons guess against the syrian people would be a mistake. >> by the way, netanyahu agrees with president obama on syria conservatives tried to use our relationship with israel to grab votes. they accused president obama of not getting it. and some called him the most antiisrael president in history. bb set the record straight. >> i want to thank you for the investment you've made in our relationship and strengthening the alliance between our countries. the president has reaffirmed more than any other president, israel's right and duty to defend itself against any threat. so it's a pro found honer to host you, the leader of the free world, at this historic time in our ancient capital. welcome to israel. >> let's turn to policy analyst for the center for american progress. let me start with you. we see these conciliatory gestures being offered by prime minister netanyahu, but that's different than the lecture he gave to obama in his own digs in the white house. what accoun
the forum to deliver another stern warning to the assad regime in syria next door. >> we will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the syrian people or the transfer of those weapons to terrorists. the world is watching, we will hold you accountable. >> and he was cheered for his commitment on iran. >> america will do what we must to prevent a nuclear-armed iran. >> earlier in the west bank, president obama met with the palestinian president, mahmoud abbas. only hours after a stark reminder of the region's dangers as militants in gaza fired several rockets into southern israel. in ramallah today, the president also reversed course, no longer demanding that israel freeze settlements before peace talks resume on borders and israeli security. >> and that's not to say settlements are not important, it is to say that if we solve those two problems, the settlement problem will be solved. so i don't want to put the cart before the horse. >> and "meet the press," why is our own chuck todd pushing his luck with the president? >> chuck, you're just incorrigible. >> we'll have more on that
to the syrian army through iraqi air space. >> anything that supports president assad is problematic. and i made it very clear to the prime minister that the overflights from iran are, in fact, helping to sustain president assad. there are members of congress and people in america who increasingly are watching what iraq is doing, and wondering how it is that a partner in the efforts for democracy and a partner for whom americans feel they have tried so hard to be helpful, how that country can be, in fact, doing something that makes it more difficult to achieve our common goals. >> nbc's mike taibbi is live for us in akabul, afghanistan. mike, let's talk. this is not a photo op. this is some tough talk from john kerry. how is it being received? >> well, it has been tough talk from secretary of state john kerry, and you wonder how spirited the discussions are going to be with afghan president hamid karzai. they're meeting and now there will be a joint press conference later. the two men know each other. kerry has made five previous trips here when he was a senator. but there have been strained rel
described as spirited, no breakthrough was achieved. >> anything that supports president assad is problematic and i made it very clear to the prime minister that the overflights from iran are in fact hipping to sustain president assad. >> talks also focused on iraq's transition to democracy as it prepares for upcoming elections at a time when violence is on the rise. >> all right, here's your first look at your dish of scrambled politics. they're warming to the idea of same-sex marriage but many oppose marriage equality. karl rove signaled there could be a major shift in his party's outlook. >> karl rove, could you imagine a republican candidate saying i'm for gay marriage? >> i could. >> the supreme court begins arguments on it, the legality and one benefit to endorsing the notion with one strategist te telling politico opening up the idea will open up donors around the country. >>> zuckerberg is forming an issues advocacy organization focusing on comprehensive immigration reform. >>> rand paul doesn't want to legalize drugs but doesn't want them to go to jail either. >> the l
they are looking into allegations while white house press secretary issued a warning to the assad regime. >> we have no evidence to substantiate the charge that the opposition has used chemical weapons. warn the regime against making these kind of charges as any kind of pretext or cover for its use of chemical weapons. >> neither side has provided any documentation that chemical agents have been used. but following intelligence briefings the chairs of both the house and senate intelligence committees say they believe president assad has crossed the so-called red line in the civil war. >> i think the days are becoming more desperate, the regime is more desperate. we know where the chemical weapons are. it's not a secret that they're there. and i think the probabilities are very high that we're going into some very dark times. and i think the white house needs to be prepared. >> i have a high probability to believe that chemical weapons were used. we need the final verification. given everything we know over the last year and a half, i would come to the conclusion that they are either positioned
's a long standing syria through the decline or democrat myself of the assad regime, which i think is inevitable, will be a serious blow to iran. >> so if you have washington, sir, on one side of the scale and tehran on the other, who does baghdad more closely align with? >> well, our hope is, of course, that it will be a truly democratic regime which will be primarily loyal to the interests of the people in iraq and that their views will be consistent with others in supporting and strengthening democratic institutions. but as with many of the other countries in the middle east, there are a whole series of conflicting interests there and it will play out over a long period of time. but our interest is in democratic institutions, democratic societies who will serve their people and not be so much interested in the kinds of conflicts that have raged for so long in that region. >> you mentioned your hopes are for the inevitable assad regime there in syria. but today one of the national coalition, the head of that resigned. he was the key u.s. ally among the rebels. how big of a blow i
, to prop up assad in syria and that this is something that americans and the congress, that the administration, cannot understand or tolerate, and as kerry told us afterwards, it was a very spirited conversation, because he got a lot of pushback from maliki. maliki argued that assad is facing extremists in this country. so he basically, even though he's not terrible sympathetic with assad politically, assad staying in power is very important for maliki's domestic politics because he fears a takeover by the rebels would actually lead to rebellion fact. the message from kerry was pretty tough. that congress is losing patience with iraq and that maliki will not have any role in the political decisions to come once assad falls with this pll political transition being worked out with international leaders, if he continues to help iran prop up assad. >> there are reports also that the head of the syrian opposition coalition reports that he resigned this post at some point today. what do we know about that, and what kind of complications could that present for the united stat
or others. he believes that we need to change president assad's calculation. >> there has been disagreement in the past in, within the cabinet. we now know that hillary clinton and the c.i.a. director and others wanted some, and the defense team as well, leon panetta, wanted to arm the rebels. the president is still dead set against that. we don't know where secretary kerry comes down. is this an issue where the president is going to have to move under pressure from allies? >> i think this is an issue that the people at the white house wrestle with every single day. the human cost of assad's actions are horrific. and we struggle with the human toll and hearing these stories from the region, about innocent people that are suffering. so what the president has done is rejected this notion that either we arm them or we're not supporting them. there's been enormous diplomatic effort put behind helping the opposition. there's been considerable money, hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian relief and nonlethal assistance to the opposition. we simply haven't taken a step towards a military
, consorting with iran and rearming assad undercuts all of the international efforts to get assad out of there. so by propping up assad in a hot war, if you will, in a civil war where 70,000-plus people have already died, al maliki has become more of a problem than a solution. >> andrea mitchell as always, going to where the news is. thank you for the perspective from the room. much appreciated. >> christopher hill is the former u.s. ambassador to iraq and the dean of the corbell school of international studies at denver university and joins us to talk more about the situation. now ambassador hill, i want to to talk about andrea used the phrase "an erratic figure" to describe president karzai, particularly after his comments of the alleged u.s. collusion with the taliban that he is now saying was a misunderstanding. can we trust karzai after the behavior he has exhibited over the last three and a half weeks? >> i think we know karzai pretty well we've dealt with him for a long time. and i think secretary kerry in particular has a kind of personal relationship with him. i think with respect to
give some very specific messages. he repeated his warning to the assad regime not to dare use chemical weapons, which are of course a direct threat to israel as well, saying that the united states will respond. and he made a very strong iron-clad commitment on iran, another thing that israelis want to hear. >> you know, interesting you mention the heckler and you talk about the charm offensive. i believe it has been called operation desert schmooze by "the atlantic." he handled that very well. he got some laughs when he said, i wouldn't feel comfortable here if i hadn't been heckled at least once during a speech. but andrea, the genesis of all of this, and really as you talk about this being the crux of this particular trip, peace is necessary, peace is just, peace is possible. do you think those are the sentiments that are truly reflected there in israel? do you think people believe that peace could be possible? is there any kind of a time frame that you ever hear people say, if only this could happen, that could happen? >> israel is prosperous, but israel is now threatened by all of
spirited discussion on the subject of the over flights. anything that supports president assad is problematic and i made it very clear to the prime minister that the over flights in iran are, in fact, helping to sustain president assad and his regi regime. >> customer reported he left the meeting without reaching an agreement with maliki. those oppose to assad's government is trying to maintain a coalition after the backed opposition resigned. with the help of the cia, arab nations in turkey have sharply stepped up aid to the rebels. there is a troublesome straight line from afghanistan, where the secretary of state is this morning, through iran, through iraq, and into syria. >> i think the people who also have noticed this are the afghan leadersh leadership. so it's interesting. you have secretary hagel who does a visit. secretary kerry now doing the visit. the president hasn't been to afghanistan in a year now and other things taking his attention in the region whether iran and rising tensions with syria and economic challenges in jordan, et cetera. they are watching this stu
in syria. we're all talking about the emphasis is on helping the resistance against president assad reach victory. obama keeps saying it's not matter of if but when president assad leaves. that's not really so sure. looking at the what's happening on the ground, the breakup of syria is more likely rather than a clear victory of one side winning or losing and president assad leaving the country altogether. so it's really a matter of the next step. what happens after whatever happens in syria. the threat is to the region. the countries on the borders of syria. turkey has its problems. jordan could well have its problems very soon. lebanon. so it's a very -- it's a situation that's very volatile. syria has been imploding and the fear, of course, is that it will explode. america's options -- what it needs to do is help the region formulate some kind of way of dealing with the problem inside syria. american troops on the ground very unlikely, but, of course, there are already special forces, american special forces, british special forces, and i believe french special forces inside jordan trai
to president assad accused each other of firing chemical weapons that syrian state tv has said killed at least 25 people in the north of the country. the white house sounded a skeptical note but warned against any further escalation of violence. >> on that specific allegation, we have no evidence to substantiate the charge that the opposition has used chemical weapons. we are deeply skeptical of a regime that has lost all credibility and we would also warn the regime against making these kinds of charges as any kind of pretext or cover for its use of chemical weapons. >> but, of course, the other pressing issue for the international community is iran and its nuclear ambitions. despite years of severe economic sanctions, and continued pressure from the united nations, iran still seems intent on developing its nuclear capability. in an interview specially recorded for israeli tv in preparation for his visit, the president was unequivocal in his commitment to preventing a nuclear iran. >> when i'm consulting with beebee as i have over the last few years on this issue, my message to him will be th
constructive steps as it relates to what happens after assad leaves and we're certainly hoping for that day to be upon us. >> senator, bob casey, thank you so much. it's good to see you. >> thanks, chris. >>> we were watching -- it was a ceremonial tree planting ceremony. but in the meantime, ambassador, let me ask you a little bit more about syria. and we heard both president obama and netanyahu reference the changing region. let me ask you about your -- your thoughts on arming the rebels. should we or what might happen to get us to that point. what do you imagine these conversations over syria are going to be like? >> this creeping incrementalism that we have engaged in over syria is for all intents and purposes is not going to really change the equation on the ground. we have so marginalized ourselves with respect to the events on the ground in syria. the rule and reason that the united states could comply is more or less dissipated. most are furious at the united states for not doing enough, depending on which side you talk to and which group you can wind up talking to. and so this deba
supporter of syrian president al-assad and the most senior figure to die in syria's civil war. >>> a major shut down is confirmed for the third largest school district in the nation. ram he manu you' emanuel said th but necessary choice. opponents who turned out to protest yesterday said the closures will only endanger students in troubled areas who may have to cross gang boundaries to attend classes. the consolidation will save $560 million over ten years. >>> gun legislation set to hit the senate floor next month will include universal background checks. this according to harry reid who introduced the bill on the senate floor last night. the top senate democrat is vowing that any bill that passes the senate must include background checks, the most contentious portion of the measure. reid also promised votes on proposed assault weapons ban. the legislation also aims to make gun trafficking a federal crime and strengthen safety measures at schools. >>> and just yesterday, the late beetle john lennon was thrust into the gun debate when his widow drew attention to the cause tweeting a photo
and white house press secretary jay carney issued a warning to the assad regime. >> we have no evidence to substantiate the charge that the opposition has used chemical weapons. we are deeply skeptical of a regime has lost all credibility and warn the regime against making these kind of charges as any kind of pretext or cover for its use of chemical weapons. >> neither side of the conflict has provided documentation that chemical agents have been used. senator lindsey graham spoke about the allegations telling foreign policy that quote this. we need to come up with a plan to secure these weapons sites either in conjunction with our partners or, if nothing else, by ourselves. if the choice is to send in troops to secure the weapons sites versus allowing chemical weapons to get in the hands of some of the most violent people in the world, i vote to cut this off before it becomes a problem. but following intelligence briefings, the chairs of both the house and senate intelligence committee said they believe president bashar al assad has crossed the so-called red line in the civil war. >> i
. at the same time, both president obama and king abdullah have called for president assad to accept down and have made it clear that they don't see much of a future for him in running that country. >> always good to see you. thanks so much. >> today's tweet of the day has to do with march madness. in case you didn't hear, 14th seed harvard earned its first ever ncaa victory last night. so today this is what the harvard lampoon tweeted -- america, we are sorry for messing up your brackets and your financial system and everything else. seed harvard earned its first >>> hard to believe it's been ten years since the shock and au campaign that laufrgesed the iraq war. i was on the air as it was all unfolding. this clip is from the morning after the war began. >> let's get you up to date on what is happening. it started at 9:30 eastern time last night when president bush gave the order and attacks were made against leadership targets, saddam hussein in a bunker around baghdad. and since then, a lot of activity for those troops massed along the iraq kuwaiti border. they have gotten some scares
states will try to continue to isolate syria and to make sure that at some point assad does step down from power soon. so i think those are two of the key issues you're going to hear him talk about. also, martin, this is not just a trip to talk to the leaders. according to a recent poll in israel, 10% of israelis view the president favorably. so i thing hek he's going thereo to send a message to the people of israel that he does, in fact, stand with them and change that perception that they have of him and the united states. martin? >> nbc's kristen welker, thank you so much. >>> the reminder nbc news and msnbc will have comprehensive coverage of the president's trip throughout the week. >>> next, the nra reveals its true masters. stay with us. hey, our salads. [ bop ] [ bop ] [ bop ] you can do that all you want, i don't like v8 juice. [ male announcer ] how about v8 v-fusion. a full serving of vegetables, a full serving of fruit. but what you taste is the fruit. so even you... could've had a v8. twenty-five thousand mornings, give or take, is all we humans get. we spend them on trea
of the disasters of iraq was the dissolution of the state. so when bashar al assad goes, and the government believes ultimately he will, those institutions, those governing bodies will be necessary for the day after. for those people who are left holding the bag, what has become basically a sectarian war, to put back a government. it is a critical lesson and a police take we cannot ever make again. >> as we look back and relitigate the war in iraq, i think it is easy to say on its face, it was a clear mistake and we'll never do this again, how could we do this. let's not forget that. a lot of democrats voted for this war. including hillary clinton. that's what i want to ask you about it. she voted for the iraq war resolution in 2002. 2007, refused to see that vote as a police take. she has defended that since. i'm wondering if you think that is going to be a political problem for her. in 2016 if she ends up running. >> let me say a couple things. having been in the white house i realize how hard it is to govern and to make these national security decisions. it is not black and white and it
to steer syria toward a post assad transition. >> back to israelis and their concerns about president obama, does the president need to simply establish the roots, the ancient jewish claim to this strip of land here? some in israel saying we're not so sure. >> well, certainly. i think that the president has not reached out to the israeli people in ways perhaps his predecessors have. and i think this is an opportunity to kind of reestablish the kind of rapport the israeli people traditionally want to have and need to have with an american president that they have confidence that he has israel's back. the fact is that there has been very significant and deep cooperation institutionally between the united states and israel. probably a more stable, successful relationship than ever before. but there is this lack of rapport between obama and the israeli people. and he'll do his best to reach out. one of the reasons he is speaking to college students and not at the knesset is to go beyond the government and try to establish a much more significant conversation with the israeli people. >> i wish w
, targeted strikes against assad's aircraft and scud missile batteries on the ground and the establishment of safe zones inside syria to protect civilians and opposition groups. ten years after the start of iraq war, they're rattling the sabers again. >> right. so we've got to put this into a bit of context here. because syria, look, there isn't iraq or nothing. >> right. >> iraq has to be put into its context. john mccain and lindsey graham were two of the cheerleaders even before bush came in, right? there was a whole group of them in the senate saying we needed to invade iraq. along the way when they realized there were no weapons of mass destruction, when they realized this was a complete quagmire, the thing they said it would never be, what they actually said was toent worry about it because we've got another rationale here. we're going to spread democracy. remember? freedom on the march? this is a language they don't understand. culture they don't understand. where having a large foreign invasion has a long and sad track record of failure. now, that's not to say it cannot be done. yo
to have syria's assad hear all of that as a possibility. i expect to hear a lot of questions to the president that when he has a joint press conference with netanyahu. >> chuck, no doubt a very busy day ahead for you and president obama and israel. thank you so much for that report. we'll see you later for an in-depth look at the famous iron dome. so stick around. >> you got it, buddy. >>> three months after the newtown shootings, the white house and congressional democrats are pushing new limits on guns. the most ambitious of those proposals has for all intents and purposes been tabled. harry reid told reporters on tuesday that senator dianne feinstein's assault weapons ban will not be part of any gun bill he brings to the floor. >> right now her amendment using the most optimistic numbers has less than 40 votes. that's not 60. i'm not going to try to put something on the floor that won't succeed. i want something that will succeed. >> i asked him if this could be part of a package. he said no. this is very important to me. and i'm not going to lay down and play dead. >> we'
massacre of the syrian people by president assad. fortunately, the nuclear capacity was destroyed. unfortunately, the arsenal of chemical weapons remain. we cannot -- those weapons to fall in the terrorist hands. it could lead to an epic tragedy. there was an attempt to bring spring to the arab world. it is an arab choice, it is an arab initiative. it may bring peace to the region, freedom to the people, economic growth to the upstates. if realized, it can lead to a better tomorrow. we pray it will become a reality. i believe the real division is between skeptics and those who believe in peace. your voice will encourage belief. you came to us with a clear message that no one should let skepticism win the day. a vision that says clearly that peace is not only a wish but a possibility. i fully support your call. there is no other way to make the future better. there's no better leader to make it possible. your visit is an historic step in that direction. we shall journey with you all the way. thank you. >> thank you so much. well, thank you, president peres for your very generous wo
. i agree that the chemical weapons use, and certainly proven to be true by the assad regime changes the calculation significantly in terms of sort of laying the setting the table for more aggressive and explicit and direct u.s. military involvement. >> being a washington pooh-bah as you are, two pooh-bahs, you know, is there political capital for the president to take a stronger line on syria? i mean, would he have bipartisan support on that? >> no, because they have exhausted so much of their energy on iraq and afternoon. now, whether or not you can, you know, persuade bipartisan elites in washington to eventually go along with the president if he really wanted to is a different question. these folks do tend to fold pretty quickly on matters of narc security. >> and -- roughly the same number of people have died in the conflict in mexico, of 0,000 or so, so if people dying violently is for the u.s. army a reason to go into the country to do thing, think why aren't we in mexico, occupying that country? >> i think, as curt says, it's an inflection point, if you will, when it's the go
of assad. regime of damascus. or opposition groups that may be outside the realm of what the intelligence community knows about. this information is shared and israelis said they would react again and have reacted by military in lebanon. beth parties are very concerned about what is happening in syria and of course chemical weapons are first among them. i think this is a very volatile situation that could develop any week as we saw yesterday with the latest report. >> andrea mitchell was reporting how this could be a new beginning for netanyahu and obama. how there was more warmth between them or less after chill between them might be a better way of phrasing it. but i wonder to the extent that true, how much do you think that has to do with the simple fact that obama was re-elected last year? so much of the frostiness in the first term seemed to be na netanyahu was basically betting that obama would be a one-term president. betting on romney victory. here is the re-elected more confident and assertive obama making a trip to israel. did that force netanyahu to be more con ciliatory maybe
of president bashar al-ass al-assad. but we're not there yet. and it's something that we all have to sit back. the challenge is syria over the next year as we wait to see what happens with the diplomatic situation on iran, what the other alternatives are. that syria will be the one that given the fact you have these challenges to the syrian people will be the one that both sides have to make a stand on. >> let me ask you very briefly. we're almost out of time. do you think that the anniversary of iraq with all this bluster from cheney and from rums field who are unrepentant in their opinion that we did the right thing. do you think the faux pas that we made that makes us very careful about talking about chemical weapons and there forewhat we do? >> i would say yes. and i would recognize that as one of the few actual benefits of the iraq war. it has made us much more cautious about making these kind of claims and deploying troops as we did in iraq. >> the u.s. has neither the will or the interest in investing in a third military conflict. >> the rnc is putting $10 million on the line to reach
the assad regime a warning. >> we have to make sure that we know exactly what happened, what was the nature of the incident, what can we document, what can we prove. so i have instructed my teams to work closely with all other countries in the region and international organizations and institutions to find out precisely whether or not this red line was crossed. once we establish the facts, i have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game-changer. >> reporter: so, chris, the big takeaway of this trip if it ended today is this, the united states and israel are more on the same diplomatic page than ever before on iran. when iran would get nuclear weapons and what the response would be if there's proof that they're pursuing them. two, we're a long ways away from even getting middle east peace negotiations in the talking phase, but there's optimism that at least there may be an attempt to have everybody agree, okay, no preconditions and everybody will sit down. and then of course you heard that syria threat. later today, chris, maybe the most important speech that the obama administr
the conflict ends and assuming that assad steps aside. however, translating that political imperative into discreet military steps and actions is actually quite difficult. in has been a lot of talk. john mccain has talked repeatedly over the last two years about establishing a no-fly zone. that involves an act of war that brings the united states as a combatant into the syrian civil war. it may well become necessary but it is not a step that you must take lightly. somebody else in congress has suggested, insert american forces to guard the chemical weapons sites. i mean, one of the driving factors in military action is forced protection. how are you going to protect these discreet elements? we think we can define it politically as a narrow mission but in fact, the net result is bringing the united states as a full combatant into this conflict. >> and do we even know where all the sites are at this point? >> the united states knows where the sites are, yes. the united states is saying we're monitoring these situations and we have confidence that the syrians still have positive control
on back channels in moscow to get russia and vladimir putin to realize that assad is not around forever and at some point it's time to jump ship and support who is there in the future. my understanding is that doesn't seem to have pushed the russians at all. the russians are still firmly backing assad and don't think this is the time to switch. the alternatives in terms of arming the rebels is really all that the west is now looking at but they still have these reservations that if you give arms to elements of the rebels, how do you know that they don't end up in the hands of the extremis extremists? if america is going to dictate what happens in the future in syria, it needs to have a place at the table. it needs to be able to be part of the discussion and i suspect that will eventually lead to america taking part with a coalition in giving small arms to syrian rebels. >> ron, it's fascinating, that the president goes to israel without a peace plan in his back pocket or without any hopes of a peace plan in his back pocket. almost unprecedented. does this tell us how important iran is n
and closer to some sort of multilateral action, particularly if there is a confirmation that the assad regime in syria has used chemical weapons in violation of international law and basic humanitarian rights. i think it was vital that president obama went to israel at this critical moment. it was a great speech and reaffirmation of a fundamental relationship in particular that he recognized that israel is a jewish home land and a right to exist and self-defense in face of both a iranian nuclear weapons program. it is a very unstable situation in syria and in the region. this was a vital important moment for president obama, both to reassure the israeli people that we are their most vital ally, that we have an unshakeable relationship but also to urge forward a peace process that could help stabilize the region. >> dr. brzezinski, off of what senator coons just said, we have this decades old issue of trying to come up with a peace settlement within israel. yet, right now, the area, the fuses around israel so volatile and fast burning. syria, jordan, iran, egypt. talk about the degree of diffi
of saudi arabia have been clamped down because it doesn't serve u.s. interest. >> what assad has done in syria is way worse than what's happening. >> no. let's not equalize them. but it's to make clear that the u.s. doesn't necessarily step in. >> it makes strategic calculations about what its interests are. but in the case of syria the worrying thing about the situation in syria, the first wave of this, particularly tunisia which was entirely nonviolent, the egyptian revolt which was nonviolent although skirmishes and different forms of violence, to the syrian movement which began as nonviolent and faced such massive brutal horrific massacres has armed themselves and has become a long bloody civil war that has profound regional consequences and fear of spilling out and hezbollah looms large. >> wish we had more historical depth how we look at this. this is the third arab state to be devastated by a civil war. without pointing fingers of blame, lebanon for 15 years was devastated by civil war. foreign armies, foreign intelligence services. after the u.s. invasion in 2003 iraq went thr
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